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ANGELS SPRING REPORT

Shane Loux is finally going to be a part of opening day

The 29-year-old right-hander, who has spent most of his 12 years in the minor leagues, should be part of the Angels' starting rotation.

April 02, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

TEMPE, ARIZ. — Manager Mike Scioscia all but confirmed to reporters this week that he would open the season with a rotation of Joe Saunders, Dustin Moseley, Shane Loux, Jered Weaver and Nick Adenhart.

And those five will apparently be the last to know.

"Everyone seems to have an idea, but no one seems to know," said Loux, who gave up three runs -- two earned -- and six hits in five innings of a 5-4 exhibition loss to Texas on Wednesday. "It puts a lot of guys on edge, but that also brings out the best in some guys. Not necessarily this guy."

Loux is tougher on himself than any coach could be. The 29-year-old right-hander went 1-1 with a 4.58 earned-run average in six Cactus League games, not too bad considering how balls flew around Arizona all spring.

"But it's been a rough spring, to be honest," Loux said. "My command hasn't been where I want it to be. My arm feels as good as it has in a long time. I don't know if it's in my head, these bouts with wildness."

If Loux, who has spent the bulk of his 12-year career in the minor leagues, is in the rotation, as expected, it will mark the first time he'll open a season in the big leagues.

"It's hard to put into words, really," Loux said. "For 12 or 13 years, I've been kicking around the country . . . watching opening day on TV in a minor league city. My goal has been to be on a major league roster from day one. It's going to be a special moment for me."

Loux, who relies primarily on a sinking fastball, has shown good stuff this spring. Consistency has been an issue.

Loux struck out Ian Kinsler with a nice changeup in the second inning Wednesday. He threw the same pitch in the third to Josh Hamilton, who blasted it far over the right-field wall for a home run.

"He hit that ball about 18,000 feet," Loux said. "That's been the story of my spring. I've had a problem repeating pitches. But I feel like I'm making progress."

Alive and well

Saunders' arm came back on its own Wednesday, the spring-training "dead-arm" that concerned Scioscia a day earlier having disappeared.

"It's back, it's alive," Saunders said. "This is the best I've felt all spring. I long-tossed [Tuesday] and got a couple of good stretches from the training staff. I feel awesome."

Saunders will throw an extensive and aggressive bullpen session this afternoon, and if he comes out of the workout OK, Scioscia is expected to name the left-hander as the Angels' opening-day starter.

John Lackey, out because of a forearm strain, was originally scheduled to start Monday's opener against Oakland.

Injured starters Ervin Santana and Kelvim Escobar would have probably gotten the nod over Saunders if they weren't starting the season on the disabled list.

"But if it happens, it will still be a great honor," Saunders said. "The pressure is going to be on to get off to a good start, and that's what I want to do."

Working overtime

The Angels closed Cactus League play Wednesday, and boy, Kendry Morales' arms were tired.

The first baseman, after playing 48 winter-league games in the Dominican Republic, played in 25 of the team's 32 Cactus League games and easily led the Angels with 76 at-bats. The next closest Angel was Chone Figgins with 62 at-bats.

Morales, who is replacing Mark Teixeira this season, hit .395 with three homers, 10 doubles and 16 runs batted in this spring.

Short hops

Matt Brown hit a two-run home run, and Robb Quinlan hit a solo shot Wednesday for the Angels, who finished with a Cactus League-best 24-7 record.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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